To say my family is unique would be an understatement. My mother named me Xenia after some warrior princess on Earth. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she spelled the name wrong. Plus, I look nothing like the princess. I have silver hair, pointy ears and lack her rather awesome cleavage. My mother did get the warrior part right. While most Farin females are delicate, timid creatures, I’m an anomaly, like my cousin Detja. We’re throwbacks to a time long, long ago when Farin females were warriors. 

My family tree is a bit cockeyed. It’s full of odd characters, villains, warriors and a few heroes. Detja’s mate is a prime example. Zarek is the Overlord of Coletti clan. He’s one scarily powerful warlord determined to save his people from extinction. Some consider him to be a hero. Others think he’s a villain, because he does what’s necessary to accomplish his goals. Like raiding different planets and species for their prized psychic females. 

My mother, Eleni, is one-of-a-kind and that’s not always a good thing. She’s afraid of everything and has fainting down to an art form. There’s a multi-legged insect on the floor. Eeek!  Down she goes. Any loud noise and I do mean any, and she does a face plant. Mami has broken her nose more times than I can count. 

Believe it or not, my mother is a scholar. A rarity for a Farin female. Her specialty is ancient civilizations.  She’s determined to find the Nabatean’s lost world and artifacts of the Wadjet, a religious sect. There’s just one tiny problem. Mami can’t leave the ship. If she does, she swoons. Repeatedly. To her, the outside world is a frightening place. The other archaeologists thought this was the perfect excuse to get rid of her and kicked Mami off the research vessel.  

My father, Lysis, loved Mami so much he quit the emperor’s elite guard, bought a small spacecraft and became a relic hunter. Papa and I are responsible for the actual dig. Mami uses a computer program she designed to study the artifacts we collect. 

I was twelve years old, when my unique psychic powers began to manifest. Not only can I start fires with my mind, I can cast illusions. In other words, if I want someone to see an enraged Askole or a Gorum, they will. Papa knew if anyone found out what I could do, I would be hunted down, dissected, or sold to the highest bidder. 

My mother is such a blabbermouth. She bragged to her aunt about my rare abilities. Detja was seriously impressed and immediately ratted me out to the high and mighty Overlord. He showed up in an armed to the teeth warbird and tried to take me from my parents. Let’s just say that made Papa a tad angry. They didn’t call my father the Berserker for no reason. His psychic gifts allow him to sense his enemy before they attack and instantly know his opponent’s next move. His mental shields cannot be breached by anyone. Zarek had met his match. Literally. 

To keep them from killing each other, Detja stopped the fight by stunning both idiots. Goddess, the fury on their faces still gives me nightmares. Detja stunned them two more times, before she could get them to listen to reason. Mami spent the entire brawl passed out on the floor. Me? I was locked in a hidden compartment and watched the battle through a peephole. 

The Overlord and my father finally came to an agreement. When I turned twenty-one, Papa would bring me to Tanith. The Coletti warriors liked a spunky mate while the Farin males preferred a submissive female and my combat skills were a deal breaker. Zarek also granted Papa the power to veto any warrior he didn’t consider worthy of me.  Did I get a say in the matter? No. When I pointed out it was my life they were discussing, they just ignored me. 

We located the Nabatean’s home world of Qeeturah a year ago. The bad news is, I turn twenty-one in two months and I wasn’t about to leave the greatest find of the century to hook up with some Coletti. Not happening. Ever. Those reminder messages from Detja? They sort of got deleted. The dozen or so warning vids from Zarek mysteriously vanished too. Those darn solar flares were such a menace. 

Was I worried about the deadly hunter Zarek threatened to sic on me?  Nope. We’re in uncharted space and the subatomic particles bombarding this planet made psychic communication difficult and tracking scanners useless. 

The hair on the back of my neck suddenly stood up. I was being watch. I turned and my eyes widened in surprise. A big, muscled bound Coletti warrior studied me from the vid screen. He had high cheekbones, a firm jaw and a determined glint in his silver eyes. A predatory smile tugged at his sensual mouth. “My name is Quinn Jones and dealing with troublesome females is my specialty. Do yourself a favor and give me your coordinates.” 

Mami let out a blood curdling scream as a small orange iplo lizard skittered across her console. Her eyes rolled back and she toppled over. 

“Troublesome? You don’t know the definition of troublesome.” I cut link.